‘Lack of funds, disease outbreaks compound flood victims’ misery’

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 6, 2017-

The International Federal of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has expressed concern over the state of hundreds of thousands of flood-affected people across Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan who are struggling to survive in the aftermath of the worst flooding to hit the region in decades.  

Flood waters are receding in many areas but there are already shortages of critical supplies, with personal food supplies swept away, crops and livelihoods ruined, the humanitarian organisation said on Tuesday, “conditions are being further compounded by disease outbreaks and a lack of funds for relief activities”.

“More than five million people are struggling across South Asia after their homes have been damaged or destroyed. Whole villages have been swept away. We have a responsibility to help,” said Martin Faller, deputy regional director for Asia Pacific, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

“We risk a terrible secondary crisis of food shortages and disease unless we get the necessary funds to provide the help that is needed immediately,”  Faller added in the statement. In Nepal, the Nepal Red Cross and the IFRC face a shortfall of 1 million Swiss Francs to support 81,000 people living in the most seriously affected parts of the country.

In Bangladesh alone, more than 13,000 cases of waterborne diseases, including diarrhoea and respiratory infections, have been reported in the affected areas over the past three weeks. “Diseases such as diarrhoea, malaria and dengue are on the rise in some areas and we need support to prevent further death and suffering,” said Mozharul Huq, secretary general of the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society.

Haq added in the statement that 20 medical teams were treating the ill and injured, screening for disease, “but we fear that we won’t be able to reach most of the 10,000 people we hope to provide care for unless we receive further international funds and support”.

More than 2,600 volunteers from Bangladesh Red Crescent, Nepal Red Cross and Indian Red Cross, have been working alongside local authorities, to provide relief and help communities prepare for further rains and floods, the organisation said.

“Tens of thousands remain homeless. Many are still living in tented camps, sheltering in schools or other buildings and underneath tarpaulins. These people need our help, and we are doing all we can to meet their needs. We desperately need support from partners around the world,” he said.

Published: 06-09-2017 07:55

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